02.06.2018 – Da Nang

So our plane finally took off at midnight last night and we got to our hostel around 1:40am.  WHEW we were tired.

My body was still not cooperating with me so I went out in the morning by myself and went to the VinMart in the photo below and bought some dried fruit to help… move things along, so-to-speak.

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I got lost on the way back because I had to wind through a neighborhood and my GPS decided to not save the location of our hostel.  It felt a bit like being lost in a forest, but in the end I got very acquainted with the little roads and was able to easy maneuver out of it again once I found the hostel!

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(Me being lost)

Jennifer and I then had an enjoyable day walking around Da Nang!

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In the late morning we found a tiny stand with fresh-made bread-type goodies.  I got this yummy thing for 2,000 vnd (Vietnamese dong) – 10 cents:

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Yeah, unfortunately the photo is blurry because I was walking and hurriedly snapped a photo with my phone, but you get the idea!

We found a little stand a bit later where a woman was fresh-making Banh Mi (pronounced “bahn mee”) sandwiches. So we each had one for lunch and it tasted fantastic.  And it was 10,000 vnd – 50 cents!

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For those of you who aren’t familiar with Bahn Mi, it’s a popular Vietnamese food that was a product of French colonization – it is a combination of French and Vietnamese ingredients.  A traditional Bahn Mi is made with a baguette, mayonnaise, pate, and sometimes jalapeno (those are the French-influenced ingredients), and cilantro, typically some kind of other meat, and some different vegetables such as pickled radish or fresh cucumber (the Vietnamese ingredients).  Sometimes they are filled with Vietnamese noodles. There’s a lot of variety and I highly recommend finding a place to get good Bahn Mi!!

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There are little hole-in-the-wall bakeries everywhere so I’ve stopped at several and picked up random baked goods. So yummy.

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We stopped at a pretty coffee shop mainly to use a restroom and I had this delicious lemonade made with calamansi, which look like tiny oranges (although sometimes harvested when they are green) but have a tart citrusy flavor.  It was funny when I ordered it because they asked if I wanted ice (or so I thought) and I said no – I always say no to ice because you get more beverage that way.  But what they actually had asked is if I wanted it iced, as in cold, so they brought me a literal mug of hot lemonade.  Haha!  I sheepishly went back up to the counter and just asked if I could have some ice and then grabbed a water glass and made my own iced lemonade.

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Look at those tiny little calamansi slivers in the glass! I was so happy.

I also just learned that calamansi is actually called calamondin, and that “calamansi is just what it’s called in the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Indonesia.  It also apparently is a really hearty citrus that you could grow in the PNW.  Cool!

Side note about that: if you’re curious about calamansi lemonade, Trader Joe’s has a beverage that is nearly identical called Calamansi Cooler. It’s right by the canned pineapple juice in packs of 4 little white cans.  They MAY have discontinued it, it’s hard to say…but it was there a month ago!

Okay, moving on from the calamansi excitment…

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The French influence is everywhere. Sometimes in the little details.

We went and saw a Caodist place of worship on our way to the waterfront in Da Nang.  Caodism is a monotheistic religion originally started in Vietnam.  I’d rather you go and read this wikipedia article than try and reword and explain it myself.  It’s quite fascinating and I recommend you read about it!  Portland actually has a small Caodist church building like this (the design of the churches are all almost identical in structure and layout).

Also, remember that the swastikas on top are not associated with Nazism.

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A lot of trees are sprayed/painted with this white stuff, and not just in Vietnam but in every country we’ve visited thus far.  Apparently, the white paint was originally used to protect young trees, but the method is used in many parts of Asia for visual things such as preventing people from not seeing the tree at night; moreover, the paint has lime in it (like limestone, not the citrus fruit) to protect the tree from decay from insects.  Smart in both cases!

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That bud-shaped building is the Da Nang City Administrative Center. An iconic 36-story skyscraper!

There was a LOT of beautiful carved art along the riverfront in this kind of style.

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It was in general a beautiful walk.

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Did not get a great picture of it (I was only using my phone at this point) but that’s the Dragon Bridge. It changes colors and has a dragon head at the far end of it. Super pretty.

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Lots of pretty lights everywhere!

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We went down this alley to get dinner at a really top-rated hole-in-the-wall restaurant:

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However, we ended up crashing a Vietnamese party!  I didn’t remember to get any pictures or videos, mainly because it was overstimulating, drunk older men were trying to dance with us, and obviously because we weren’t where we supposed to be. It was hilarious though!

There were flowers EVERYWHERE because the city (all of Asia, actually) is getting ready for Chinese New Year.  Side note: did you know that kids in China get ONE MONTH off of school for Chinese New Year?  I think that’s awesome.  However, it’s one of the two only months they get off from school, so learning that made it less exciting.  Still fun though.

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More Bahn Mi for dinner!]

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Overall a wonderful day. Though it was our only full day here, we got a rich sense of the vibe and culture.

Oh, one more thing.  I’ve debated posting a video like this for the sake of our parents sleeping at night, but it’s a pretty essential piece of traveling in Asia: crossing the street.  It’s intimidating at first but we’re pretty used to it now.  It’s actually kind fun.  This video isn’t the most interesting crossing we’ve done but I think it adequately sums it up.  Enjoy!

(I’m not sure why the video quality looks so crappy when I post it on here, but you get the picture!)

🙂

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